VALENCIA, Spain // Fernando Alonso yesterday said he has raced his best seven races of his career this year, despite sitting fifth in the drivers' standings and more than 90 points behind the championship leader, Sebastian Vettel.
The two-time world champion has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks with Ferrari performing strongly in Monaco and Canada, but going into this weekend's European Grand Prix on home tarmac, he knows there is only one way for him to challenge for a third title.
"We need to have the best car," he said. "If we have the best car we can win the title. There is plenty of time and plenty of races to recover. If we are fifth or sixth, as we normally are in qualifying, it's very difficult because you cannot get the pace that everybody is doing. But the championship is long and we need to concentrate race by race."
Alonso said some tracks are not conducive to his team's set-up and accepted sometimes it is not always possible to challenge for a race win. "We are not desperate to get pole here or win this race," he said. "We cannot underestimate how quick our opponents are.
"We need to respect them, and we need to understand that some races and some places we cannot [win]. There is also some pressure that you have when you are Ferrari - you need to win every race you go to, you need to win every championship you do and, despite these seven races when I drove the best seven races of my career, it seems the season has been very bad so far."
Alonso added, however, he is taking confidence from recent performances as he prepares to race in front of home support for the second time in five weeks.
"Trying to get on the podium here in Valencia is important for us and hopefully we can make a good show for all the fans on Sunday."